13 underrated Michigan beach towns you should be spending more time in

While our winter are harsh, Michigan is also chock-full of beach towns that are definitely worth a weekend road trip in the warmer weather. See, for example, these 13 places, which boast everything from great restaurants, boutiques, museums and, of course, great beaches.

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Arcadia
4  hours from Detroit 
What’s great about it: Located along Lake Michigan, Arcadia has sandy beaches and areas for boating and fishing, and anyone who’s been there wouldn’t be surprised to know the town was nominated Michigan’s most scenic drive by National Geographic for Traveler Magazine. 
Places to check out: Arcadia Beach 
Photo via enjoymichigan, Instagram
Arcadia
4 hours from Detroit
What’s great about it: Located along Lake Michigan, Arcadia has sandy beaches and areas for boating and fishing, and anyone who’s been there wouldn’t be surprised to know the town was nominated Michigan’s most scenic drive by National Geographic for Traveler Magazine.
Places to check out: Arcadia Beach
Photo via enjoymichigan, Instagram
Caseville
2 hours and 34 minutes from Detroit 
What’s great about it: Caseville may be the ideal beachside city. From the dunes, forests and plentiful beachfront property, to the great variety of restaurants and shopping centers downtown, this gem on Saginaw Bay is truly one of Michigan’s best vacation destinations.
Places to check out: Caseville County Park, Sleeper State Park, Philip ParkPhoto via mkrandazzo, Instagram
Caseville
2 hours and 34 minutes from Detroit
What’s great about it: Caseville may be the ideal beachside city. From the dunes, forests and plentiful beachfront property, to the great variety of restaurants and shopping centers downtown, this gem on Saginaw Bay is truly one of Michigan’s best vacation destinations.
Places to check out: Caseville County Park, Sleeper State Park, Philip Park
Photo via mkrandazzo, Instagram
St. Joseph
2 hours, 52 minutes from Detroit 
What’s great about it: Ahh yes, the “Riviera of the Midwest” -- did you know there was a Riviera of the Midwest? Well, now you know, and you should plan to visit immediately. With some of the nation's finest orchards and vineyards, and a quaint downtown shopping district (with Victorian architecture though) filled sweet treats and tourist gifts you wouldn’t mind giving, this southwestern city is a hidden gem.     
Places to check out: The Maids of the Mist fountain, Silver Beach, South and North Piers Photo via gonzalez24, Instagram
St. Joseph
2 hours, 52 minutes from Detroit
What’s great about it: Ahh yes, the “Riviera of the Midwest” -- did you know there was a Riviera of the Midwest? Well, now you know, and you should plan to visit immediately. With some of the nation's finest orchards and vineyards, and a quaint downtown shopping district (with Victorian architecture though) filled sweet treats and tourist gifts you wouldn’t mind giving, this southwestern city is a hidden gem. Places to check out: The Maids of the Mist fountain, Silver Beach, South and North Piers
Photo via gonzalez24, Instagram
Copper Harbor
9 hours, 31 minutes from Detroit 
What’s great about it:It might be a bit of a drive, but life is about the journey, no? Once you’re there you can delight in the unconventional beachscape (no sandy coasts here), what you’ll find are tons of great hiking spots, unparalleled views of Lake Superior, and cool swimming spots like Devil’s Washtub (pictured here).  
Places to check out: Devil’s Washtub, Brockway Moutain, Hunter’s Point Park Photo via mopeters, Instagram
Copper Harbor
9 hours, 31 minutes from Detroit
What’s great about it:It might be a bit of a drive, but life is about the journey, no? Once you’re there you can delight in the unconventional beachscape (no sandy coasts here), what you’ll find are tons of great hiking spots, unparalleled views of Lake Superior, and cool swimming spots like Devil’s Washtub (pictured here).
Places to check out: Devil’s Washtub, Brockway Moutain, Hunter’s Point Park
Photo via mopeters, Instagram
Tawas City
2 hours and 50 minutes from Detroit 
What’s great about it: Tawas should be one Michigan’s premier beachgoing destinations. Whether you’re staying at one of the upscale resorts or a quaint motel or the beachside campgrounds, there’s plenty of attractions on the water. Tawas also has a compact little downtown area where you can often find an outdoor market or craft show going down. 
Places to check out:Tawas Point State Park, Gateway Park, Tawas Bay
Photo via tawas_point_lighthouse, Instagram
Tawas City
2 hours and 50 minutes from Detroit
What’s great about it: Tawas should be one Michigan’s premier beachgoing destinations. Whether you’re staying at one of the upscale resorts or a quaint motel or the beachside campgrounds, there’s plenty of attractions on the water. Tawas also has a compact little downtown area where you can often find an outdoor market or craft show going down.
Places to check out:Tawas Point State Park, Gateway Park, Tawas Bay
Photo via tawas_point_lighthouse, Instagram
Gibraltar
32 minutes from Detroit 
What’s great about it: A nice little city located right where the Detroit River meets Lake Erie, Gibraltar is home to many scenic waterside views and a welcoming small-town atmosphere. When not enjoying yourself on the water, headtown the one of the many great restaurants or clubs, or head to the countryside to take in the sights at Kennedy Park.
Places to check out: Sterling State Park, Kennedy Park Photo via maloriej0717, Instagram
Gibraltar
32 minutes from Detroit
What’s great about it: A nice little city located right where the Detroit River meets Lake Erie, Gibraltar is home to many scenic waterside views and a welcoming small-town atmosphere. When not enjoying yourself on the water, headtown the one of the many great restaurants or clubs, or head to the countryside to take in the sights at Kennedy Park.
Places to check out: Sterling State Park, Kennedy Park
Photo via maloriej0717, Instagram
Holland
2 hours 46 minutes from Detroit 
What’s great about it: With its sandy beaches and unparalleled views of the sunset, this town off Lake Michigan is a beach-lover’s dream. Its downtown is filled with quaint shops and great eats, so be sure to set aside a full day to visit. 
Places to check out:  Holland State Park,Tunnel Park, Kirk Park
Photo via courtsipes, Instagram
Holland
2 hours 46 minutes from Detroit
What’s great about it: With its sandy beaches and unparalleled views of the sunset, this town off Lake Michigan is a beach-lover’s dream. Its downtown is filled with quaint shops and great eats, so be sure to set aside a full day to visit.
Places to check out: Holland State Park,Tunnel Park, Kirk Park
Photo via courtsipes, Instagram
Muskegon
2 hours 56 minutes from Detroit 
What’s great about it: Just north-ish of Grand Haven, Muskegon is low-key a pretty cool place. Not only is its downtown home to some great breweries and bars, the city is also home to Michigan’s Adventure amusement/waterpark (kinda like Cedar Point but less expensive). Also, you can visit Lakeshore Museum Center, the Muskegon Museum of Art and the Frauental Theater. 
Places to check out: Michigan’s Adventure, Hackley Park, Unruly Brewing 
Photo via maburns103, Instagram
Muskegon
2 hours 56 minutes from Detroit
What’s great about it: Just north-ish of Grand Haven, Muskegon is low-key a pretty cool place. Not only is its downtown home to some great breweries and bars, the city is also home to Michigan’s Adventure amusement/waterpark (kinda like Cedar Point but less expensive). Also, you can visit Lakeshore Museum Center, the Muskegon Museum of Art and the Frauental Theater.
Places to check out: Michigan’s Adventure, Hackley Park, Unruly Brewing
Photo via maburns103, Instagram
New Baltimore 
40 minutes from Detroit 
What’s great about it: Located smack-dab in the middle of Anchor Bay on Lake St. Claire, New Baltimore is a great distillation of the Michigan experience. The New Baltimore Farmer’s Market runs from mid-May to mid-October, and features an excellent variety of homegrown products. 
Places to check out: Schmidt Marina, New Baltimore Parks & Recreation, Walter and Mary Burke Park, Grand Pacific House Museum Photo via liz.bren, Instagram
New Baltimore
40 minutes from Detroit
What’s great about it: Located smack-dab in the middle of Anchor Bay on Lake St. Claire, New Baltimore is a great distillation of the Michigan experience. The New Baltimore Farmer’s Market runs from mid-May to mid-October, and features an excellent variety of homegrown products.
Places to check out: Schmidt Marina, New Baltimore Parks & Recreation, Walter and Mary Burke Park, Grand Pacific House Museum
Photo via liz.bren, Instagram
Norton Shores 
2 hours 52 minutes from Detroit 
What’s great about it: Those looking for beachside camping will love Norton Shores. With PJ Hoffmaster (plus tons of off the grid spots), it’s the perfect place to put up a hammock and enjoy a bit of seclusion. 
Beaches to check out: North Beach, Kruse Park Lake Michigan, PJ Hoffmaster State Park, Grand Haven State Park, Pere Marquette ParkPhoto via mollygabrielson, Instagram
Norton Shores
2 hours 52 minutes from Detroit
What’s great about it: Those looking for beachside camping will love Norton Shores. With PJ Hoffmaster (plus tons of off the grid spots), it’s the perfect place to put up a hammock and enjoy a bit of seclusion.
Beaches to check out: North Beach, Kruse Park Lake Michigan, PJ Hoffmaster State Park, Grand Haven State Park, Pere Marquette Park
Photo via mollygabrielson, Instagram